We've got a mixed bag today including a cool CSS remix I got in my inbox yesterday, a funky jam from the Beasties, a nifty Serge Gainsbourg mash up and another great GHP mash up - Madonna vs. Justice. Mmm, mmm good...
Roxy Music fans have much to like these days. The band are recording a new album, their first in years, release date unknown, and Bryan Ferry's new solo LP Dylanesque hits US shelves today. It is, as it's title implies, a collection of Bob Dylan covers. Now I'm not the biggest fan of Dylan the singer, but I do like a lot of the songs, especially when done by others. Bryan has done Dylan before, and is in fine form here for the most part. The album kicks off with a hard edged rendition of Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues. His distinctive croon works wonders on this tough mid tempo rocker, and he plays a pretty mean harmonica on it too. The album is produced by long time cohort Rhett Davies, and the band is littered with top talent - Guy Pratt, Chris Spedding, Paul Carrack and guitarist Robin Trower to name a few. Former band mate Brian Eno also lends a hand, credited with "electronics" on a lovely rendition of one of my fave Dylan songs, If Not For You. It's such a nice late period Roxy style remake. There are a couple of so-so tracks, but overall I'd give this a big thumbs up.
The Future Is Unwritten is the Julien Temple directed biopic of Joe Strummer's life. The soundtrack is programmed like a radio show, with Joe rambling between songs about the music he loved and his influences. It is a truly engaging listen, and the stylistic ground it covers is pretty broad. There are also a few previously unreleased gems included to draw in the Clash completists. With a soundtrack this good I look forward to seeing the movie. It was difficult to choose what to share because it is all so good. I ended up going with a very unique Elvis tune, a demo version of a Clash tune, a Mescaleros tune that is currently being used as the theme song to HBO's John From Cincinnati and a smoking Nina Simone cover of a Bee Gees song.
"Punk Rock Warlord" Joe Strummer "White Riot (Previously Unreleased Version)" The Clash "Rock the Casbah" Rachid Taha "BBC World Service" "Crawfish" Elvis Presley "Black Sheep Boy" Tim Hardin "Kick Out the Jams" MC5 "Keys to Your Heart" The 101'ers "Mick And Paul Were Different" Joe Strummer "I'm So Bored With The U.S.A. (Previously Unreleased Demo)." The Clash "Natty Rebel (Previously Unreleased Version)" U-Roy "Armagideon Time" the Clash "Nervous Breakdown" Eddie Cochran "(In The) Pouring Rain (Live & Previously Unreleased)" The Clash "Omotepe" Joe Strummer "Martha Cecilia" Andres Landeros "Minuet" Ernest Ranglin "Trash City" Latino Rockabilly War "I Called Him Woody" Topper Headon "Rangers Command" Woody Guthrie "Corrina, Corrina" Bob Dylan "Johnny Appleseed" Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros "To Love Somebody" Nina Simone "Without People, You're Nothing" Joe Strummer "Willesden To Cricklewood" Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros
Pizzicato Five - Baby Love Child A bit of classic J-pop from the '90s. A lovely little track.
Dizzee Rascal featuring Lily Allen - Wannabe From Dizzee's latest Maths And English, this is an inspired pairing that sounds pretty good to my ears. "Your Mum buys your bling." Hehehe.
Herbie Hancock - Watermelon Man Headhunters is a '70s jazz fusion classic. This track has been done many times, many ways, but this one is pure muso-funk bliss - whatever that is.
Simian Mobile Disco - Hotdog This one is a big hit with my daughters due to it's copping of an old playground clapping rhyme - let's get the rhythm of the hotdog, indeed.
Roisin Murphy - Overpowered Roisin gears up for solo album #2 with a corker of a tune. Check the Hype Machine for mixes.
Boom Bip - Rat Tail Wow. From leftfield hip hopper to '80s flavored electro/italo master, Boom Bip brings the hot synth action on his new Sacchrilege EP. I like it.
Bullion - I Just Wasn't Made For These Times Bullion - God Only Knows Got this in my inbox a week or two ago. Bullion Ness is from the UK. He has taken The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds and reconstructed it in the style of J Dilla (RIP). I am very impressed with this head nodding goodness - great beats, cuts and melodies. Nab Pet Sounds In The Key Of Deehere - its worth it!
Matthew Dear - Don And Sherri I continue to be impressed by the latest from Matthew Dear. Asa Breed is an intoxicating brew of glitchy electronics, micro house beats, downtempo weirdness, pop songs and plenty of real instrumentation all mixed up with Matthew's deep vocals. Quirky and unique and memorable. Listen to this one on the headphones...
Taana Gardner - Heartbeat A disco classic that has served as sample source to many - delicious!!
The wife and I don't see as many movies as we used to. The arrival of kids changed everything. Time became limited, baby sitting options aren't always available, blah blah blah. Anyway, I've been lucky to see a few good movies over the last month or two, both at the theatre and on DVD. Movie soundtracks can be hit or miss. The big blockbusters tend to be all bombast and corporate rock, as bloated as the movies they accompany. The soundtracks to Children Of Men and Stranger Than Fiction fall into a different category, where the songs fit their visual counterparts well and are even an integral part of the story. A good soundtrack makes a movie thrilling, and these three all fit that description.
A fantastic film about a bleak not-so-distant future. The use of King Crimson really made an impression on me, lending it's scene the opulence it needed in that reserved, British way. The Jarvis song has had it's title amended to drop the prominently repeated "C" word and is not work/children safe. That having been said, it's a pretty dead on description of how things are, both in the movie and reality.
Will Ferrell stars in this delightfully romantic comedy. It has some pivotal moments soundtracked by Spoon's Britt Daniel and Brian Reitzell, some classic British oldies, and a few cool odds and ends. The Wreckless Eric song is a shining moment where love comes to fruition, and the sweet demo take of the Jam classic is also very effectively used. A sweet film with a great supporting cast.
Haven't seen this movie yet, but I always buy the soundtrack because I LOVE David Holmes' music for Soderbergh's movies. These records are always swanky and jazzy, and the selection of other artists included is always spot on. Holmes is coming on all Mancini-like here, and Roelens' swingin' take of Caravan is great. I'll see the movie someday...
Norwegian duo Datarock released their debut LP Datarock Datarock to European audiences in 2005 after wowing critics, bloggers and music fans with their dance rock disco confections. Now, two years later, US audiences get a chance to enjoy this fine album. It has been reconfigured, with a few songs removed and 3 new ones added. Musically these guys do a great job of mixing slick electronics and disco sophistication with rock riffs. They also have a great sense of humor, with lyrics and pop culture references (Grease and Close Encounters of The Third Kind stand out) that bring a smile to my face. Today I offer a couple of the new tracks, which are definitely slicker than the rest of the album. They appear to have dropped the rocking in favor of an '80s approach. The crooning on Ganguro Girls reminds me of any one of those British blue eyed soul singers of that decade, and is a mid tempo groover about love in Tokyo that has some nice strummy guitar and synth strings. Fellow Bergen, Norway native Annie brings the fab guest vocals on the big disco duet of I Will Always Remember You, with its cheesy synths and roller rink action - great fun. A very entertaining album. I'm glad that this finally got a US release, and heartily recommend it.
The second round of Pretenders reissues hit US shelves last week. Last year brought the first two albums, and this round brings Learning To Crawl and Get Close. The original records have been remastered, and each has a bunch of bonus material. Learning To Crawl is the beginning of Pretenders v2.0. After the tragic deaths of James Honeyman Scott and Pete Farndon, Chrissie regrouped with Martin Chambers on drums, Robbie McIntosh on guitar and Malcolm Foster on bass. The original sound more or less intact, it is an album chock full of classic Chrissie songs and quite a few hits. She had been knocked down hard, but with this album Chrissie proved she could get right back up again, and with songs as memorable as those that came before. There are some rock classic moments here too - Middle Of The Road, 2000 Miles, Show Me, and the two I offer today. Back On The Chain Gang is pure pop heaven, all chiming guitars and that lovely voice. On the previously unreleased tip you get a smokin' version of one of Chrissie's greatest songs, My City Was Gone (Live). A great LP finally given the long overdue remastered treatment.
My favorite new record this week isn't really new. Carnavas, the debut album from L.A. four piece Silversun Pickups, came out last year. Its new to me though. I was watching MTV2 a couple of weekends ago, and I was, shall we say, pleasantly buzzed. It was a block of live performances, and this band came on. I believe the song was Lazy Eye. It totally caught my ear, with its hugely catchy riffs and tight, precise rhythm section rocking. There was a great feedback filled rock out in the middle section and I was hooked. I actually got up and grabbed a scrap of paper to scrawl the band name on. I bought the album a couple of days later, and am quite happy with it. Is it innovative? Not particularly. It hearkens back to some of the '90s bands I enjoyed, especially Smashing Pumpkins, only they add some serious shoe gaze-y flavor as well as crisp production and effects. I am really enjoying the mighty guitars - loads of great solos and sounds - as well as the bass playing chick who also sings. These are two of my faves...
I've been slack at posting this week so today I make it up to you with a mixtape of songs largely inspired by '80s electro. There are some original old school classics, a bunch of new school up and comers and a couple of bits and bobs that sort of just fit in. This should get you in a fine frame of mind for the weekend!
D-Train - Music (12" Version) One of the old school classics. A shimmering synthfest from '83, this still sounds great. A nice mix of futuristic synths and soulful r'n'b.
Calvin Harris - Certified Calvin Harris - Disco Heat From the forthcoming album I Created Disco which is chock full of some seriously jammming recreations of '80s electro funk.
Chromeo - 100% These funky white boys from Canada love all things eighties - always have. This is a perfect example, right down to the sax solo. Fab breakdown at the end too.
Paul Haig - Heaven Sent Another gem from '83, this is from the former Josef K singer's solo debut Rhythm Of Life. Gone are the scrappy post punk guitars, replaced by all things electronic and sleek. A favorite of mine.
Joakim - Drumtrax French musician and remixer whose production work on last year's Poni Hoax album really got my attention. Also produced a lot of Panico's great Subliminal Kill. His own record is a startling blend of electronics, rock, new wave and ambient weirdness. This is a stompin' electro tune with a wacky slo-mo breakdown.
Paul Hartnoll - Patchwork Guilt One half of the now defunct Orbital on the solo tip. A very orchestral LP, with lots of strings and Robert Smith from the Cure singing on one track. And also very reminiscent of his old band.
The System - You Are In My System This is a stone cold classic from 1982, later covered (to great effect) by Robert Palmer. Slick and sleek and soulful.
Architecture In Helsinki - Heart It Races (Yacht's I Should Coco Remix) Brand new AIH tastiness, from a CD single of remixes and remakes of this song. Loopy steel drum and Tom Tom Club moments, sprinkled with a dash of M.I.A.
This 1979 LP was reissued this week. It has been remastered and expanded with two bonus tracks. According to the sleeve notes, the record was born out of an ill advised attempt to turn Herb's Tijuana Brass Band hits into disco - "We went into the studio with some wonderful studio musicians, but after listening to the boom boom boom disco beat of The Lonely Bull, I got a terrible feeling in my stomach and decided to let those '60s classics rest in peace." Instead his collaborators played him a bit of a new song, Rise, which he suggested they slow down from it's uptempo disco pacing. The song went on to win the Grammy for best pop instrumental. The rest of the album features more disco-ish tracks and his 1980 Olympic fanfare, all superbly played by the cream of studio sessioneers. The thing I like about this stuff is the electronic flavor - there are some great synth sounds scattered throughout. Most people will recognize Rise as the choice sample source for Notorious B.I.G.'s 1997 classic Hypnotize. Rotation is more experimental. The alternate version is one of the album's bonus tracks, and is a lot more electro than the original. The 12" version is off of a cool promo CD single and has only ever been on vinyl. Very groovy.